Christmas is the season of giving and aside from offering presents to our loved ones, many people who can afford to do so choose to make a charitable donation in December, to help organisations that do good, from supporting children to vulnerable families, lonely pensioners or the homeless.
It's a great way to give back if you can, and with the pandemic still unfolding, we're all a little more aware of the increased need for services across our local communities. Whether you're able to give money, or volunteer your time and skills, there are many organisations in Scotland that would love your support.
If you can afford a donation, do take a look at #ChangetheStory from Cyrenians, the Christmas appeals from FareShare and Grassmarket Community Project, the Big Wish from The Big Issue, and the Festival of Kindness from Social Bite, who all do wonderful work.
Another way to make a difference is to find presents with a purpose from social enterprises who deliver a positive impact on the ethical gift directory right here on Buy Social Scotland. Did you know that when browsing the directory you can search for gifts by ‘social issue’? It's never been easier to support a cause close to your heart, from the environment, employability and equality to youth services, heritage projects and international development and more. We've rounded up some great ideas for gifts that give back below to give you some inspiration.
Arts, Heritage and Culture
Whether they’re a museum, cultural centre or membership organisation, there are a number of social enterprises across Scotland that are working to preserve the history and culture of our communities.
Makers, Bakers and Creators is a community group that was set up following the pandemic to provide support and opportunities to artists and creators. The Isle of Skye Ferry is a social enterprise that sails the last manually operated turntable ferry in existence across the Kyerhea Narrows between Skye and the Scottish mainland. A membership organisation open to all, the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland has helped to foster and promote Scotland’s unique musical traditions. And the Highlander’s Museum showcases the rich and diverse history of the area as well as houses the largest collection of military artefacts outside of Edinburgh.
Children and Families
There are many social enterprises and organisations across the country working to tackle issues facing children and families.
Based in West Lothian, Kidzeco not only provides families with affordable kids clothing, but also raises money for causes such as the Special Care Baby Unit, SiMBA and Team Jak Foundation. Merry Go Round is a children’s boutique in the Southside of Glasgow whose aim is to make being a parent a little bit easier. As a not for profit organisation and peer-to-peer community, Glasgow Sling Library offers support and consultations for parents and parents-to-be. Party in the Post reinvests their profits to help change the lives of children and parents across the UK that are facing poverty and social exclusion.
Community Building and Development
There are many organisations across Scotland that help communities better connect with each other, access community spaces and activities and help advance community causes based on local needs.
Bùth Bharraigh is a community hub selling quality goods from Barra and Vatersay, which boosts the local economy and provides new income opportunities for local crofters and crafters. Based in Edinburgh, Aerial Art House was born out of the need for a supportive community environment in their local area. As part of the Social Circus Movement, they aim to empower participants and build networks in their community. The Bike Station is a bicycle recycling and cycling promotion social enterprise that helps communities in Edinburgh and Perth to get fitter, happier and better connected to each other. Dundee Community Toolbox is part of Wellbeing Works, a social enterprise that promotes better wellbeing for those who face mental health challenges in Dundee: helping them to build their confidence, learn new skills, and connect with others in the community.
Employability and Training
There are many organisations across Scotland that are working to create training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people.
Community Gift Exchange in Ayrshire helps create sustainable employment for people facing poverty through the work, experience and wellbeing gained restoring, recycling and reselling donated goods. Based in the city of Inverness, Cafe Artysans works with young people, allowing them to gain the skills they need to take the next step in the world of work and improve their life chances. Change Please reinvests 100% of their profits into providing training and onwards opportunities, as well as housing, to people experiencing homelessness. Social Bite is also on a mission to build a collaborative movement to end homelessness in Scotland.They are a major employer of homeless people and have pioneered the way for people to use employment as the central means of re-integrating into society and supporting themselves.
Environment and Recycling
There are many social enterprises across Scotland that are committed to fight the effects of climate change and help communities become more environmentally-friendly through circular economy initiatives for instance.
Rags to Riches is an award-winning upcycling social enterprise that uses waste to promote environmental sustainability, community engagement and education within Glasgow and the surrounding areas. Based in Edinburgh, LOOP Leith has adopted a slow fashion approach by offering exclusively designed products that have a positive impact in reducing global warming. By using organic cotton and printing on demand, LOOP has managed to achieve an 80% saving on emissions in materials and energy. WASaBED recycles retired bedlinen into sustainable handmade beach bags. By bringing it into the circular economy and reusing it for environmental benefits, they help to reduce the amount of bedding going into landfill. Based in East Lothian, Lil is a behaviour change organisation which puts 100% of their profits back into supporting community activities to reduce waste. So far, they have prevented over 1,000,000 pieces of plastic from polluting the environment.
Equality and Inclusion
There are many organisations across Scotland that work hard towards building a fairer and more inclusive Scotland, by developing initiatives that promote equal access to opportunities.
Based in Ayrshire, Mecoco is a social enterprise that believes that everyone, regardless of their disability can make a meaningful contribution in their own community should they wish to. They create opportunities for individuals regardless of their level of ability and adapt equipment, processes and their products to make the job as accessible as possible. Somewhere is an organisation that is championing Scotland’s LGBTQ+ community through arts, culture and enterprise initiatives, and creates spaces and opportunities for queer authentic lives. Based in Glasgow, The Blankfaces is a social enterprise fashion label aimed at ending homelessness. Each of their designs is inspired by a homeless person and which every product sold, they give a percentage of the sale back to the individual who shared their story as well as donating their profits to the homeless community in Glasgow. Dechomai is an organisation passionate about empowering Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women with leadership and enterprise skills. It was founded on the need for more female role models and entrepreneurs from BME origins.
Fair Trade and International Development
There are a number of Scottish social enterprises working to solve key issues facing global communities and developing initiatives that promote fair trade.
Equal Exchange works with a wide range of farming communities to help make the world a fairer and more transparent place, searching for new ways of connecting with their producers and creating fair, sustainable and delicious products. Carishea works to improve the lives of the world’s poor through ethical trade, by reinvesting their surplus revenue from trading, it helps fund community development projects across the world. Brewgooder donates all of their profits to charities which work to bring clean water to communities which helps to lift them out of poverty and make radical and transformative steps into a better life. Based in Edinburgh, Social Stories Club is a speciality gifting company whose hampers are helping to transform communities, individuals and the environment while telling unique stories of social impact.
Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
There are many social enterprises across Scotland that support vulnerable individuals through, health, wellbeing and social care initiatives.
Pause & Breathe CIC aims to make wellbeing as accessible as possible. As well as having a thriving online community, they also work with a variety of organisations and charities which focus on improving mental, physical and emotional health. Based in East Kilbride, Agape Wellbeing is an organisation which offers services and activities to promote positive health and wellbeing for all. Creativity In Care is a community interest company offering creative learning programmes, workshops, and exhibitions dedicated to improving the quality of life in care services and community settings. The Next Chapter is a social enterprise with a wellbeing bookshop and a therapy centre for affordable counselling, coaching and bodywork therapies.
Helping children, teenagers and young adults to thrive is a key mission for many more-than-profit organisations across Scotland.
Spartans CFA aims to change lives through sport, reinvesting their profits into delivering youth work, education and health and wellbeing programmes within their local community in North Edinburgh. You Can Cook is a social enterprise based in the Scottish Borders which works with young people and schools to provide skills training and opportunities. Based in the Highlands, Kinlochlovin’ supports young people through enhancing activities which promote social inclusion, wellbeing and social justice. By providing life experiences and opportunities, they help young people become effective contributors in their own communities. Animalia reinvests their profits to help disengaged young people reconnect with themselves and their lives, to become fitter and healthier, have better mental health, and be a more active part of their communities.
We hope you have enjoyed finding out more about some of the social issues you can help support by finding social enterprises gifts on Buy Social Scotland and the impact you can help deliver by purchasing presents with a purpose. Browse the complete gift directory by social issue, product type or local region to find more gift ideas.